Kenai River Brewing’s newest project, Kenai Joe’s Taphouse, had a soft opening Monday.
The bar is being housed in the old Kenai Joe’s bar, the peninsula’s oldest watering hole. Kenai Joe’s opened in 1935, and Kenai River Brewing Company owner, Doug Hogue, is keeping the name alive.
“We really appreciated that history and wanted to keep the spirit of it,” Hogue said.
Earlier this year, Hogue bought the historic Kenai Joe’s bar in Kenai’s Old Town. Joe Gilman, Colton Hertog and Kara McCormick of Kenai River Brewing own the bar’s liquor license.
“I’m basically a landlord,” Hogue said. “It’s a good opportunity for them to become business owners.”
Right now the bar is open and offering small appetizers, beer on tap and specialty cocktails.
Hogue said the beer offerings have been upgraded and quality liquor has been brought in.
“You can get a well drink and you’ll be super happy with it,” he said.
The bar will be open while an extension is built on the side of the building. The extension will hold a large kitchen. More construction will take place later this year to redo the back of the current facility, including upgrading bathrooms.
Hogue said his team is staying “low-key,” but he hopes to be completely open by December.
When the kitchen is constructed and ready to use, the taphouse will expand its menu. Fans of Kenai River Brewing Company’s fare will be happy to hear the company’s classic burgers and wings will find their way to the Kenai Joe’s Taphouse menu. Hogue hopes to introduce some other entrees, like steaks, seafood and pasta dishes.
“You can come in and have a nice meal or a fancy meal,” Hogue said.
With the opening of the taphouse, the peninsula will have a new music venue and feature regular live shows.
“We will start easing into a music program and have live music and get a nice, new scene going on here,” Hogue said.
Hogue said the bar will most likely stay open from 1 p.m. to 11 p.m., seven days a week at 800 Cook Ave. in Old Town Kenai.